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How Demonstration Farms Can Revive Farming in Kenya

Farms that showcase agricultural technology and techniques that improve crops and production are known as demonstration farms and are a smart investment that can help accelerate the espousal of game-changing innovations. Farmers can learn new ways of doing things without having to do it on their farms.

Demonstration farms are used to teach various agricultural techniques and technologies, showcase new or improved crops. They also serve as a venue to research and test new methods alongside traditional ones.

Their sizes can vary widely, ranging from small to big farms. Depending on what’s being tested or showcased, the demonstration farm could have different types of crops and crop varieties, livestock or poultry breeds, fertilizer treatments or technology, such as drip irrigation.

Pepino Melon in Oxfarm.co.ke demonstration Farm at Ridge ways Nairobi

Over a century ago, agriculturalist Seaman Knapp recognized the importance of demonstration farms and he believed in the philosophy of teaching through demonstration. He is regarded as the father of demonstration farms.

Demonstration farms however have a potential of doing much more. They are a few of them however in the country, oxfarm.co.ke however is currently having a demo farm in Ridgeway’s Nairobi. If carefully designed, demostration farms could help revolutionise Agriculture in Kenya as well as Africa. They could help solve some of Africa’s most persistent challenges including degraded soils or the low adoption of irrigation technologies.

They could also help with the uptake of new concepts that are transforming agriculture including precision agriculture – a farm management system that ensures soils and crops receive exactly what they need for optimal growth and productivity. Or conservation agriculture – a sustainable agriculture production system comprised of three linked principles; minimal soil disturbance, mixing and rotating crops and keeping the soils covered as much as possible.

You Only Have One Month To Prepare; Hass Avocado Farming Package

Where Does Demonstration farms Work?

In Israel, a centre for agricultural development has trained over 270,000 people from 132 countries in its various courses, 70% of which use demonstration agricultural farms.

There have also been substantial advances on the continent. In Nigeria, a fertilizer company has over 3,000 demonstration farms that it uses to showcase and teach farmers about modern farming practices.

In Ghana, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has established over 1,242 community demonstration farms that showcase new agricultural technologies.

Here in Kenya, apart from our demo farm, a demonstration farm in Meru is teaching women everything they need to know about conservation agriculture. This includes covering crops like grass or legumes, to provide seasonal soil cover to protect bare land. These kinds of steps improve crop productivity, increase yields as well as profits and food security.

Farmers can see how practices work over time, ranging from one season to another to a period of years. They are then able to use them on their own farms. In Kenya over 10,000, of over 7 million farmers, have adopted these practices.

Non-governmental organizations are also using demonstration farms. Development in Gardening in Kenya, for example, uses demonstration farms as classrooms to showcase good agricultural practices.

State of Hass Avocado Farming in Kenya

What Should be Done

The need for demonstrations farms can’t be overemphasized – particularly in Africa. Challenges such as droughts, degraded soils and low crop productivity persist and threaten the livelihoods of millions of people.

One of the major challenges is funding. Setting up demonstration farms to try new technologies or best practices takes lots of funds, time and effort.

Luckily there are several funding agencies, including governments, that fund demonstration farms.

 

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How to make millions from watermelons farming

Any successful agribusiness in Kenya is either derived through dream, vision, hobby, passion or money. Every person has a dream, some of them from childhood. However, unless you act on your vision/dream, it will remain to be that; dream. Some of you would like to grow watermelons and do not know how.

Watermelons are very popular in Kenya and one bite into a sweet, juicy watermelon can make you smile. It has a high demand, which makes it a profitable fruit to grow. With a growing concern among Kenyans to stay healthy, watermelons are an instant favorite as they are mostly made of water, are plenty in nutrients and are low in calories. The best part is growing watermelons in Kenya is easy, you can reap a lot of profit from a mere acre of land. Watermelons need space to grow because of their vines, so make sure you space them well. Here is how to grow watermelons in Kenya.

soils

Watermelons are known to do well in sandy loam soils that are slightly acidic and well-drained. When watermelons are planted on heavy soils, they develop slowly, making the fruits size and quality to be inferior.
Temperatures
Watermelons do well in temperatures ranging between 220 and 280 C. Cold temperatures below 150C may cause stagnation of fruits.

Rainfall

Optimum rainfall requirement per cropping season is 600 mm and 400 mm is considered minimum. Excessive humidity may favor leaf diseases and also affect flowering.

Propagation

Watermelons are commonly direct seeded, except under conditions where the growing season is short, whereby transplants raised in containers are used. For the direct seeded, the planting depth is about 2cm and between row spacing is 1.5-1.8m, while the intra-row spacing is 30-60cm.

Transplants

Instead of planting directly in the field and have 3 weeks of accumulated weeds germination and insect attacks to battle with, planting of seeds in seed trays in a protected area for later transplant into the field when at least 2 permanent leaves have developed, is a very viable option. Watermelon is grafted in some production areas

Application of Fertilizers

Application of nitrogenous fertilisers is based on soil type. Soils with high organic matter require 80kg N/ha, while light soils require 140kg N/ha.
The nitrogenous fertiliser should be applied and incorporated into the soil at planting time. Phosphorus and potassium applications are based on soil tests, and both should also be applied at the time of planting.

Pollination of Watermelons

Watermelons produce separate male and female flowers. Male flowers are produced initially, followed by production of both sexes usually at a ratio of 1 female to 7 males. Watermelon flowers are viable for only one day hence important to have pollinating insects.

Weeding

To be done regularly to keep the field clean. Avoid injuring the plants when weeding. Fruit pruning-Remove blossom-end rot fruits to promote additional fruit set and better size of the remaining melons. If a market demands larger melons, remove all but three or four well shaped melons from each plant. To avoid disease spread, do not prune melons when vines are wet.

Read: Ksh 2000 for an Apple? Here are the most expensive fruits in the world

Harvesting

If a farmer wants to know whether watermelons are ripe and ready for harvesting, he should tap their tough covering with his finger. If they produce a dull sound, it means they are ready. You can also check the bottom part that lies on the ground; if it’s yellow, the fruit has ripened.
One acre of land if given the care as it is required should produce 15,000 fruits that weighs between 8Kg to 12 Kg or more, depending on the variety. Assuming you get 10,000 fruits in your first harvest, you can easily make Ksh 1,300,000 if you sell at Ksh 100. Watermelons can be harvested twice an year making it possible to make millions. Waste no time, invest in agribusiness as it is the future.

Read: Water storage can help farmers during dry seasons

Storage

Ensure minimum handling of melons, as extra handling is expensive and may harm the fruits.
Rotation-Watermelons can be rotated with cereals, legumes or cabbages

Pests

  • Whiteflies
  • Aphids
  • Flea Beetles
  • Red spider mites
  • Diseases

  • Damping-off diseases
  • Root-knot nematodes
  • Powdery mildew

 

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How to Boost Your Agribusiness Through Marketing

Most farmers and agribusiness investors in Kenya complain about market day in day out. They are out-shined by middlemen and brokers who buy their produce at a very low price and sell at high price benefiting more from the real farmers. You will hear farmers complain about how coffee and tea farming business gone down as they receive peanuts. In recent past maize farmers in rift valley are all complaining of how the market has shifted. Agribusiness marketing should be given a priority when one intends to do agribusiness.

The question we would ask ourselves is how we market our products. Typically, you will hear people say something like, “I’ve placed some ads but they just don’t seem to be doing anything.” In other words, what they are doing is not bringing them the customers, clients or sales they desire.

Related: 8 deadly cattle diseases and how to control/treat them

Agribusiness Marketing Is More Than just Advertising

Those two terms are not synonymous and ‘placing a few ads’ is never going to draw the kind of business a small business needs to be successful in agribusiness. Agribusiness marketing is a process, not an event. It involves planning marketing goals and implementing marketing strategies to achieve them. It involves positioning yourself from the planting all the way to harvesting.

Now that doesn’t mean Agribusiness marketing must be a complicated process. But it does mean you should know what you want to achieve and get out of there and work at it. Below are some basic marketing strategies you can use to increase your customers and sales:

Related: How to control various soil diseases in our farms

Help yourself by helping others.

All your agribusiness marketing should be of some use to your audience. There are many ways that you can make your marketing efforts a welcome intrusion rather than an annoyance to your audience. Try the following:

Provide useful agribusiness information. Information marketing has proven to be highly effective in increasing sales. By educating your audience on problems that they care about, you are also not only growing your customer base but also positioning yourself as the solution.

Aid. Answer questions posted on forums and websites and direct your audience to your website for more information. There are online directories that list a whole variety of forums.

Entertain your audience. Make them laugh or cry. Think of the funny and touching ads that you see and how quickly they are shared.

Related: Reasons Why You Should Start an Agribusiness in Kenya Today

Socialize on social media

Agribusiness marketing in Social mediaThe current society is all in social media, ranging from teenagers to middle-aged ones and some of the old guys. Its therefore wise that you socialize more on social media mostly with your target group talking to them about your products and services that you are offering. The most popular social media channels include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Snapchat. Each of these social media platforms are unique and require unique ways of engagement. Rather than try to master it all at once, choose a few you like and try to master those first.

There is nothing effective than the word of mouth, when you provide good services or your goods are of good quality, the word will definitely spread. So don’t limit yourself, market your products in all channels available.

Related: How Many Years Will It Take To Get Returns On Invested Capital Under Hass Avocado Farming

Utilities of Agribusiness Marketing

A useful way to think about the utility process is to think of them as adding value to the product.

  • Form utility- this means to process the product into a form desired or needed by the consumer.
  • Place utility- this means transporting the product to a location desired by the consumer.
  • Time utility-this means storing the product until the time it is needed by the consumer.
  • Possession utility- this allows consumers to gain ownership of the product legally.

Each of these utilities is added to the product by performing one or more of the nine marketing functions.

  • Form utility is created by processing.
  • Place utility is created through the transportation function.
  • Time utility comes from the storage function.
  • Possession utility is created by the buying and selling functions.

In this way the barriers of space, time, information, value and ownership are overcome for the producer and consumers. To get an idea of how agribusiness affects our daily lives, imagine what is involved in hass avocado production. List at least 10 businesses or services that are needed to get an Avocado ready for consumption.

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Profitable pig farming in Kenya

Rearing pigs in Kenya has over time become a lucrative business. But what are the requirements of starting a profitable business and how much capital is required? Well we will try our best to show you the minimum requirements and how you can become a pig farmer in Kenya. As a pig farmer, one has to decide on the specialized path to follow, for example one can rear pigs for piglets or for selling pork, for sausage as well as bacon and other options. Well, let us assume you have Ksh 100,000 and you are willing to start pig farming and you are rearing pigs targeting farmers choice.

Let us assume for example you have 100,000 Kenya Shillings to invest in pig farming. We will look at the timeline of ROI (Return on Investment) which runs from the pen building and piglet acquisition to selling.

Requirements for pig farming in Kenya

At the start, the initial investment is geared towards housing, breeds and feeds. Feeding accounts for 60 to 70 per cent of the total cost, so expenditure is going to be high that first year.

Before investing one should draw out a typical agribusiness plan that should cover all the necessary cash flow projections for the first year at least. Understanding the local market factors of supply and demand will be key to the pig farmer. It is recommended that one should buy a two-month-old piglet initially; these should be bought from trustworthy farmers. Proper selection is partly ensured by counting the number of teats on a sow this is an indicator of the number of piglets it can deliver. It is also important how one transports the pigs or piglets since they can die due to stress. Pig rearing can be a stressful venture so one should go in knowing what to expect and not readily cut corners.

Important breeds for successful pig farming in Kenya

There are several breeds but the most common in Kenya include;

  • the DanBred Landrace,
  • the DanBred Yorkshire and
  • The DanBred Duroc.

With this three-breed cross, there is full use of hybrid vigor/heterosis as well as optimum production results, a high lean meat percentage and good meat quality.

The Danbred Landrace (LL) is a strong pig with a long back, long nose, good legs, good milking and mothering ability. It has characteristic drooping ears. The breed is known for the good quality of its meat.

The landrace is used in crossbreeding programs to produce Landrace/Yorkshire crosses for commercial farms for production of slaughter baconers.

The DanBred Yorkshire/Large White (YY) is also a strong pig with good daily weight gain, low feed conversion ratio, a high lean meat percentage, good longevity and good mothering capabilities. It is muscular and has characteristic upright ears. Like the Landrace it is used as pure breeds (YY) or 2 way crosses (LY) as mother breeds to produce crosses for commercial farms.

Note: Landrace/Yorkshire sows have very high fertility, good teats, high life expectancy and are very friendly.

The Duroc (D) is used as a terminal sire i.e. it is crossed with the landrace/Yorkshire crosses to produce pigs only for slaughter. It is a strong pig with good feed conversion rates and a high lean meat percentage.

Feeding habits

A pig’s nutritional needs will vary with age, weight, and stage of production. Three types of feeds are available with differing protein content. On average, a pig eats two or three kilos a day. The feeds should include all the pig’s nutritional requirements. Diet should include maize bran, cassava, fish meal, cotton seed cake, vitamins as well as water.

A farmer should keep in mind that digestibility of feeds is a factor. Therefore, a farmer should either cook or chop it up to ensure its digestible. For things like grass, leaves like potato vines and peels, and other leafy foods, it is best to sundry for a day to get rid of toxins before they are fed to the pigs.

Read: Get Over Ksh 700,000 from an acre of Hybrid onions in Kenya

Housing

The housing unit should take into account drainage and separate feeding and watering areas. Methods of housing include structures with a concrete slanting floor or applying Indigenous Micro-Organism (IMO). Using IMO would require digging about a meter deep in the floor area and fill it with saw dust, coffee husks or rice husks. Compared to concrete floors, IMO is cleaner, cheaper and environment friendly. When planning for housing, consider setting aside pens (enclosures) for weaned piglets, pregnant sows nearing delivery, sows that have delivered, sick pigs and boars.

Read: Profitable cabbage farming in Kenya

Common Diseases

African Swine Fever (ASF)-This is one of the most dangerous diseases. This is because the disease has no vaccine or cure and can wipe out a complete stock. ASF is an acute contagious viral disease affects both domestic and wild pigs. The virus is spread via blood, feces, saliva, urine and vomit of sick animals, which then can contaminate food, farm equipment, vehicles and other objects in the environment. Pigs can also pick up the virus when they eat infected food. It is spread from pig to pig by direct or indirect contact via contaminated items. Contaminated items can include vehicles used to transport infected animals, farm tools, feeding troughs, boots and veterinary equipment. It is thus very advisable for pig farmers to limit pig interaction with the outside world, using clothing and boots especially for feeding pens and troughs should be used only in the pig houses alone and removed when moving in and out of the pens.

Further still, to avoid infections such as these, some framers do not bring in any pork or bacon from anywhere else unless it is from their farm. The virus is present in the meat, bones, blood, skin and all other body parts of infected pigs with the highest concentration in the blood.

Therefore, meat and other body parts can transmit the disease. It is for this reason that farmers should avoid careless disposal after slaughtering sick pigs.

Insufficient knowledge, low health-management skills and poor husbandry practices were identified as the principal factors contributing to the problem of pig stock infestation. It is important to give the pig vaccinations to ensure they will be disease resistant.

Marketing

If you buy a piglet when its 2 months old, it will be ready for sale within six months. Profits per a grown pig will range from Ksh 20,000 to Ksh, 30,000. In order for farmers to increase their chances of making more profits, it is advisable for them to get into groups and sell in bulk.

Farming in groups gives farmers strong bargaining power. For instance, 50 farmers with three pigs each to sell will have a total of 150 pigs which increases their bargaining power than one selling three pigs to a buyer that wants 150 pigs.

Big companies such as Farmers choice helps farmers with transportation costs by getting pigs from a central but local location which cuts down on those and other costs.  Farmers can also attain a lot through groups by starting savings and loans schemes, which enable farmers to access funds easily and repay the money with interest.

We can break down the 100,000 as follows;

  1. 2 months piglet at Ksh 2000 each
  2. Housing at Ksh 25,000
  3. Pig Feeds at Ksh 50,000
  4. Vaccines and other costs at Ksh 10,000

Read: Cost and returns of establishing successful dairy farm

A pig farmer can also do his/her own processing after inspection by a district Veterinary officer and then slaughter the pig or sell it.

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How Do I Monetize My Passion On Farming?

Farming is a business and so farmers must treat it as such. This starts with proper planning and diligent execution of all on-farm and off-farm activities. If you intend to make farming your business then keeping records is a very important activity to note. Tracking your income and expenditure, weather trends, the efficacy of applications and treatments on the farm, efficiencies of various technologies, amongst others, can determine your success or otherwise in farming. You cannot ignore records keeping from your daily chores on the farm.

Below are some of the tips that you can use to monetize your passion in farming.

Have A Long-Term Vision

If you have decided to be a farmer for a very long time, then it is always nice to have a clear long-term vision. A vision, as in any business, will be your long-term guide and motivation. Whenever you pause to ponder over your farms, your vision is what you weigh against progress to see if you are on the path to achieving what you envision. Altogether, your records will be a vital guide.

Set Clear Goals for Your Farms

Now, break long-term vision into short-term goals. Do not be too ambitious. Keeping records of various activities will help you track progress. Make sure the goals you set are in line with your vision and set up activities that can address the goals. Think of your resources and which farming enterprise to start with, in which season. Decide how to use your capital and how you intend to generate profit. With your knowledge of records keeping, you will steadily get to your vision.

Track Money Coming in And Going Out of The Farm

It is very critical for farmers to track their income and expenditure. Keep all your invoices, receipts and all documents relating to income and expenditure on your farm. Moreover, keep a journal to record all the monies spent especially on labour. Where there are more than one enterprise, you may keep records separately to be able to track progress on individual enterprises. Do not forget to record dates of various transactions. Your records will inform you, which months have the highest demands for money.

Learn From Your Data

The records you have kept will be your greatest tool moving forward to achieving your goals and ultimately your vision. From the records, you can compare the cost of inputs and their efficacies. Moreover, you can know from the data if you are truly making a profit. The data should be able to give you all the vital information you need, to make all the necessary changes or improvements. If you do not find any information you want, that in itself is enough information to know what to add to your records the next time around.

Calculate Your Own Labor Time and Where To Use It

Most farmers think that their own labor used on the farms are worth no money. However, keeping records of your own labor will help you know how to distribute it to maximize profit. Costing your labor will give you the true picture of the actual cost of production in a particular enterprise. Data on your labor will help you decide when or if you need to hire. Besides, it helps to take up other responsibilities in your farming enterprise.

Make Use of Available Resources

You do not need to be good at math or an expert accountant to keep good records. In fact, there are lots of resources available that you can use. You can dwell on your personal experience or that of other farmers. Furthermore, you can seek the help of an Extension officers from the nearest County Government’s offices.

Develop Successful Habits

Keeping good farm records is obviously one of the key habits you need to develop, as well as a focus. With a focus on the set goals and vision, you are always bent on learning from the data and improving. Develop the habit of organizing your records very well and making your future plans for them. Set times to look at your books. Either weekly, monthly or quarterly. This will help you concentrate on other activities and make an evaluation of your data at other times at specific intervals.

Doubled with your passion in farming, if you do the above, well we guarantee you success in farming. Make it an agribusiness and not just farming.

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Successful fish farming in Kenya

Kenya is known to be blessed with various assets with the potential for fruitful aquaculture. Hence, commercial fish rearing isn’t another investment thought in the nation. The nation is home to unmistakable geographic and climatic areas and assets, for example, substantial waterways, the Indian Ocean coastline, marshes, and Lake Victoria, the biggest freshwater lake in the continent. Such resources add to the plenitude of a variety of sea-going species in Kenya, which favors both vast and small-scale fish farming in Kenya.

As of now, fish farming in Kenya has ended up being a key monetary movement and a source of income for a few Kenyan family units. Thus, you can go over various fish farms set up for business purposes as you transverse the nation. While a few farmers practice this gainful financial activity for its benefits, others are doing it for family consumption. In any case, regardless of whether its fish farming for subsistence or business purposes, these fish farms have made a huge contribution to the dietary demands and economy of the nation.

Read: Success on bee keeping this is what you need to know

Benefits Of Commercial Fish Farming In Kenya

  • You will have an easy time since climate, and geographical conditions of Kenya are ideal for the economic activity.
  • Kenya has an array of fish species hence you can choose on the most profitable ones.
  • The country has a high demand for fish products, so your fish will fetch good market prices.
  • You can opt to use some of the fish for consumption. So you can earn and at the same time meet your daily nutritional demands.
  • The practice can be a good source of income considering the current high rate of unemployment experienced in Kenya.
  • The practice is a right way of exploiting the numerous water resources in the country for economic purposes.

Step By Step Instructions On How To Start A Fish Farm

In case you’re thinking about joining the group of fish farmers in Kenya, it is critical that you remember a few imperative elements. Here is a well-ordered manual for take after while diving into this lucrative monetary activity.

  • Selecting the perfect land – For business angle generation, it will be appropriate on the off chance that you pick earthen lakes since they are the most reasonable. Make sure that the ground you pick is moderately level and free from contamination. Furthermore, the land ought to have a dependable water source since the quality and amount of the water you utilize impacts production.
  • Construction and outline of the fish pond – Ensure that the pond plan you pick underpins the species you expect to introduce. The pond should support the growth of your fish. A perfect pond configuration also guarantees most extreme production and great wellbeing of your fish.
  • Selecting suitable fish species – Your decision of a specific species is subject to the farm area, atmosphere, and market. For example, tilapia is known to have a monstrous demand across the nation. You can likewise go for fish species that is easy but difficult to keep up with your present area climate.

Read: What to consider when starting a dairy farm

Techniques And Tips

It is advisable that you provide quality food to ensure faster growth and maximum production. For commercial farming, you can go for manufactured supplementary feeds. The Kenyan market has several fish feed varieties that are specific for the different types of fish species. While caring for your fish, ensure that you handle all your tasks precisely and timely.

It is also advisable that you change the water and examine the water and soul quality regularly. Additionally, be keen on how you protect your fish from predators and use the proper medicines to keep your fish healthy.

Incomes And Profitability

Fish farming is a lucrative business idea in Kenya. For example, a farmer in Kirinyaga started the business with about Ksh. 20,000 and began making money after only a half year. His first huge cash from his fish farm was Ksh. 150,000. As of now, the farmer acquires between Ksh. 60,000 and Ksh. 100,000 consistently from the production of fish and fingerlings. This is simply a case to affirm how lucrative fish farming in Kenya can be.

Marketing

Fish has a ready and appropriate market in Kenya since most Kenyans cherish the delicacy. Moreover, fish also has an appeal in the universal market. It is prudent that you send your fish straight to the market at the earliest opportunity because of their perishability. You can also categorize your harvest as indicated by sizes with the goal that you can expand profits.

Read: Getting started on chilli (Pilipili) farming

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Success on bee keeping: This is what you need to know!

If you have taken up the respectable decision and the art of beekeeping then you are in for the ride you could ever imagine. Regardless of whether you do it as a hobby or as a business venture, honey bee farming has a great deal to offer. As a learner, this practice may be a touch of overwhelming. All things considered, you are managing a standout amongst the most forceful and possibly risky types of insects out there. Be that as it may, if you treat them right and comprehend the art you will get the opportunity to see their more advantageous angle with everything from honey harvests to pollination for your crops. To enable you to begin off on the correct foot, below are 10 tips each beginner must know.

Understand the honey bees

You can’t begin honey bee farming if you don’t understand what you are really going after. Understand that the achievement of this venture depends more on the honey bees than your contribution as the farmer. You will in this manner need to understand them as far as things like natural needs, colony chain of command and significantly more. Seeing this encourages you make sense of precisely what’s in store and how to manage challenges like honey bee diseases and aggression as they come.

Take your time choosing a good home for them

With regards to honey bee keeping, giving the colony, a decent home is critical in the event that you have any expectations of being successful. It is vital that the honey bees feel quiet and at sufficiently home to begin delivering the valuable fluid gold that is nectar. For this situation, you have to do some exploration regarding the honey bee boxes and hives out there. Those with removable casings are the most effortless to work with as an apprentice. This is on account of they enable you to move the honey bees, gather and complete numerous other distinctive upkeep exercises.

Read: Upland Arrow Root Farming Without a Swamp

Collect all the important apparatus ahead of time

The following vital point to fruitful honey bee keeping is guaranteeing that you have every one of the tools necessary. For this situation, you will require the honey bee boxes or hives, protective gear and a smoker to begin. It is constantly best to guarantee that you begin new colonies with new hardware to keep cross sullying from old wiped out hives.

Watch out for changing seasons

When beginning honey bee keeping, timing is everything. The best time to set up is around spring or late-spring where the flowers are in sprout. For this situation, the honey bees have a considerable measure to work with as far as sources of pollen and nectar. With autumn launches, you likewise benefit from their rush to make honey reserves for winter.

Start small with nuclear/package colonies

When starting bee farming, you may either choose to start large using a wild swarm or small with package colonies. As a beginner working with the small nuclear colonies is the best option. These are easier to manage and allow you to learn as the colony grows.

Inspect the hive regularly; not overbearingly

Inspecting the hive is very important and should be done every 7 to 10 days. This helps you identify any anomalies including diseases in the colony. It also allows you to monitor the productivity of the bees. However, it is important to ensure that you do not overdo the inspections. This is because opening and closing the hive too much disturbs the bees and hinders their productivity.

Leave some of the harvest for the bees

After all your patience and hard work, the bees will reward you with honey and other products including bee pollen and Propolis. However, it is very important for you to understand that the bees need these products more than you do. So, when harvesting make sure to leave them with enough to survive on. In this case, the best thing to do is to research on how much honey the species you work with requires for survival. With this information, you should know just how much to leave behind.

Read: How profitable is tomato farming in a green house?

Do not irritate the honey bees unless important

When you have the beehives, all set up with the honey bees fed and all that, leave them in peace. Exasperating them pointlessly will make your life a lot harder than it should be. For one, it disturbs the honey bees and makes them amazingly aggressive. It also distracts them from activities including honey making and other hive upkeep duties.

Learn from your oversights and encounters

You will commit a great deal of errors as a beginner; that is unavoidable. You will also have a ton of progress on the off chance that you are determined and very much educated. Make a point to gain from every one of these encounters to guarantee your colony’s accomplishment in future.

When you are prepared, grow and begin more colonies

With bee keeping, colonies should be as many as possible. When you have aced dealing with the first then you should consider getting another. Having two comes as a noteworthy preferred standpoint predominantly for backup reasons. If one colony ends up performing poorly, you have an additional hive from which you can acquire resources like honey and actual bees for help.

With the 10 hints given above, you ought to have the capacity to begin and support an effective colony. Simply be as readied as could reasonably be expected and willing to gain from your errors and you will be a master in the blink of an eye.

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Upland Arrow Root Farming Without a Swamp

According to Daily Nation (Seeds of Gold) arrowroot farmers in Kenya can now double their yields, thanks to a new high-yielding and fast-maturing variety from Rwanda that has an average yield of 3 tonnes per acre in just six months.

The variety is available at Kalro, Thika. This is good news to farmers who are currently harvesting an average of 1.68 tonnes of arrowroots from the same size of land in eight months.

The hybrid variety requires less water compared to the traditional one, which is popular in the Kenyan market hence can survive in semi-arid regions.

However, there is a sudden high demand for the tuber in the country due to increased health consciousness. Arrowroot leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals.

They are a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, and zinc, and a very good source of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, niacin, potassium, copper, and manganese. Arrowroot corms are very high in starch, and are a good source of dietary fiber.

One acre of upland arrowroots technology grown tubers will accommodate 29,333 plants, which will yield 29,333 tubers sold at Sh 20 each, which translates to Sh 586,660 gross income.

Read: How profitable is tomato farming in a green house?

Technology

Arrowroots are traditionally grown along the river valleys and on wet areas. With the upland arrowroots technology, they can now be grown away from river valleys.

This innovative farming method can contribute greatly to food and income security, while helping in climate adaptation, bearing in mind many river valleys have dried up due to global warming.

Upland arrowroots technology involves planting the crop in trenches lined with polythene paper and filled with soil manure mixture at a ratio of 2:1.

Planting trenches are spaced at 0.5m. In this technology, crop and water management is done when avoiding stepping on the trench while weeding to prevent compaction.

Tubers grown using upland technology require ample moisture throughout the growing season and therefore, irrigation is required once per week. Soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5 is favorable.

Read: Different Types Of Poultry Farming And Their Products

How to plant Arrow Roots and manage it

  • Remove all weeds along the designated area and dig a straight trench, 1m wide and 60cm deep.
  • Remove top soil (40cm) and subsoil (20cm) put them in separate side of the trench, put the polythene sheet to line the trench.
  • Mix the top soil with manure and return the mixture in the trench leaving a depression of about 10cm, then wet to saturation.
  • Plant the suckers in a spacing of 30cm by 30cm inserting the plant up to 20cm.
  • Spacing between beds should be 0.5m
  • Mulch the area when planting during the dry spell and water once a week to maintain wetness. Old and dry leaves should be removed regularly and corms are ready to harvest between six to eight months.
  • Finally, ensure the trench soil is always moist and should be watered on a weekly basis. Weeding should also be done frequently.

Maturity index

When mature, the leaves start shrinking. At that time of harvest, ensure the soil is moist to prevent breakage of the root tubers while uprooting. The arrowroots are now ready for the market.

Advantages of upland technology (mesophytes)

Security of the harvest is guaranteed since the crop can be grown on a normal farm. It curbs damage from floods and production is throughout the year and easy to enrich the soils by adding manure and making the trenches. With good management, there is higher yield since more suckers are produced and there is low labor requirement.

Varieties which can withstand conditions like those of mesophytes 

Eddoe type has small tubers and this is best for upland technology due to its productivity in low water. On the other hand, the Dasheen type has large tubers. It is reported that currently, a piece of Eddoe arrowroot is retailing at Sh80 while the Dasheen variety, which is a little larger is going for Sh100 in various markets in Nairobi. Just like Eddoe variety which can do well away from river bed, this hybrid variety has thin small leaves and deep roots to minimize on water use.

Source (Seeds of Gold, DN)